The 2023 Lunar New Year marks the Year of the Rabbit. In the Chinese zodiac, the Rabbit represents longevity, peace, and prosperity. It is said that people born in the Year of the Rabbit are creative, compassionate, and sensitive. They are friendly, outgoing individuals who enjoy the company of others. On the Vietnamese and Gurung calendars, the Cat takes the Rabbit’s place in the zodiac. Likewise, the Malay zodiac uses the Mousedeer in place of the Rabbit. Let’s take a look at some famous tennis pros born in the Year of the Rabbit.
Novak needs no introduction. With 21 Grand Slam titles and a record 373 total weeks ranked as the No. 1 player on the ATP, there is no doubt that Novak Djokovic is one of the greatest tennis players of all time. Fittingly enough, his speed and flexibility are defining aspects of his athleticism, just like a rabbit. Once an ATP player council president, Djokovic formed the Professional Tennis Players Association in 2020. As the first player-only association in tennis, the goal of this organization is to give players greater influence on the tennis tour and provide better prize money structure for lower-ranked players.
Born the same year as Djokovic, Sir Andy Murray is another former No. 1 ATP player. Murray’s accomplishments are nothing to scoff at, having held the No. 1 spot for 41 weeks in total and winning the Olympic gold medal in 2012 representing Great Britain. Regarded as a tactician on the court, Murray’s all-court game and his defensive counterplay are instrumental to his success. In 2019, he was knighted by Prince Charles and became (becoming) one of two tennis players to have ever been knighted, alongside Sir Norman Brookes.
At just the age of 18, Maria Sharapova hit the No. 1 world ranking in the WTA, making her the first Russian woman to be at the top. Over the course of her career, Sharapova won at least a Grand Slam title at each of the four major events: 2 at the French Open, in addition to winning the Australian Open, the US Open, and Wimbledon once. Sharapova overwhelms the competition through sheer force, making fast serves and hitting powerful groundstrokes from the baseline. Additionally, many consider her backhand among the best in tennis. Besides her tennis career, Sharapova dabbled in modeling. She appeared in advertisements for Nike, Prince, and was featured in Sports Illustrated.
Following in Maria Sharapova’s footsteps is Elena Rybakina. Like Sharapova, Rybakina’s strategy involves overpowering her opponent using her formidable serve and aggressive baseline play. Her victory at Wimbledon in 2022 was one for the record books. Though Rybakina is Russian-born, she began representing Kazakhstan in 2018. As a result, she became the first Kazakhstani player to not only be a Wimbledon semifinalist, but also a finalist and, of course, champion. To reward her efforts, Kazakhstan’s president, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, awarded Elena Rybakina the Order of Friendship of the II Degree.
Tennis Express wishes you all a happy Lunar New Year. May you find luck on and off the tennis court throughout 2023 and going into 2024. Until then, stay updated with our blog for the latest info on all your tennis gear, pro players, and more.